Essay: Baroque and Neobaroque

Here is an excerpt from the Essay on the parallels between the baroque and neobaroque:

"Today, the ceiling of postmodernism is sagging, infested by the neobaroque aesthetic worming into its weight-bearing beams. In an aesthetic transition the prevailing trend may obscure the harbiners of a new age even as they are celebrated by a given coterie of creators. Broad acceptance, similar to the reception of Joyce's Ulysses, cannot occur in a society guided by certain long-standing tastes and values. These efforts either surface retroactively or they appear in blended works where the artificer tries to continue the accepted aesthetic, but lets foreign elements increep. Although some writers have undoubtedly created narratives informed by a neobaroque orientation, these works lie so far on the fringe of contemporary literature that is either hard or impossible to find them, or they have been composed in a foreign language. Far more common is the kind of development we observe in renaissance England where texts begin to pronounce the tensions glossed over by the prevailing harmony and ideals.
At the outset of King Lear, prince Burgundy rejects Cordelia for a lack of moiety while his counterpart, France, accepts her without reservation. (S 175) The differences in these positions are treated as ordinary; no thespian comments on the divergence in the attitude of these two suitors; opposite extremes as acceptable foresees the coming rupture in the particulars of a universal truth, augering that a man or woman may adhere to a different code of values, even when the one case involves excess and the other – asceticism, with society taking this polarity for granted as the parties present in King Lear.
Now if we accept that the transition from the renaissance to the baroque passed through a subepoch of Mannerism that was defined by skepticism, obsession with form, experimentation and so on, then we have pinned down the identity of the actors in the masque on our postmodernist stage. The rejection of universals, truths, harmony. Does that describe a Mannerist or a postmodernist? In confusion I might be liable to say postmannerist, which is ingeniously misconstrued by Peter Handke into a series of sounds to offend the public or deconstucted by Harold Pinter into a scene of no manner or matter. But this is no explanation, it begs the question: is the baroque metaphysically concomitant with Mannerism? Where are we headed in art, society and what age offers us insight? Recent events from immense innovation in the arts, decadence in society, egocentrism, extreme wealth, stagnating wages, rising unemployment, an aging population, saturation, economic volatility, increasing psychological instability, autism, depression, medication to religious revival, conventional narratives, the popularity of traditional theater, representational painting, political centralism paint a portrait of a civilization in a grave struggle between outsiders and excess."
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